Our Responsibility as Business and Technology Leaders — A Father’s Day Reflection
- June 27, 2018
I was recently attending a Senior Leaders and Sales Conference when I started thinking about how we, as business and technology leaders, have a higher moral responsibility to our employees, children and the next generation. I realized that I have seen way too many technology executives kick the can down the road when it comes to replacing legacy applications and raising IT costs. By continuing to spend an oversized amount of the IT budget on keeping the lights on, these companies are unable to invest in digital technologies that can identify new customers, create better employee and customer experiences, and reduce costs.
For way too long now, cost-savings instead has been driven on the back of employees. I’ve seen organizations do this by reducing the workforce, limiting training, requiring longer work hours, and more. Great companies (and even great societies for that matter) aren’t created by cost-cutting their way to prosperity. Instead, we create opportunity by driving innovation, which will grow business and provide opportunities, training, engagement models, business models, and increased rewards for employees and clients. I know many of you might be thinking “We’ve heard this before and it isn’t easy.” I agree, this isn’t easy. And we have heard it before. But it’s not rocket science. I have also seen many clients get it right. I have seen them create a self-funding pool to drive digital innovation and create a stronger company by understanding where to drive IT optimization that won’t hinder growth and transferring the savings to an innovation fund. They also use new technologies to solve old problems by eliminating duplication, redundancy, and by continuously driving modernization of their IT portfolio.
For example, NTT DATA Services recently worked with a leading Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company to retire their mainframe and help move legacy workloads to the cloud. It was challenging, because it involved the core systems that supported their business and their key customers. However, through a structured methodology and executive commitment, we drove out millions of dollars per year in support and maintenance costs and were able to close a legacy data center. Other examples include helping one of the largest chemical companies drive a 65% reduction in their applications portfolio, a global retailer shave a significant amount of its annual operating costs while improving speed and a large healthcare organization drive a 32% savings in application management costs. Each of these clients was able to achieve millions of dollars in savings per year, which they were able to reinvest in newer capabilities and processes.
Additionally, or more importantly, we were able to drive increased automation, analytics, and a better customer and employee experience. The new insights gained through better analytics, the faster response through automation, the better experience through digital engagement all have enabled these companies to become more competitive and to eliminate or reduce the old school management practice of largely driving savings at the expense of employees.
As I think about our employees (and my children and the next generation), I feel we all have a personal obligation to do more. We need to be myopically focused on creating stronger companies that are growing faster and thereby able to provide better opportunities and jobs. I know this may seem like a bit of a stretch to tie reduced IT costs with supporting society, but I don’t agree. I feel, as business technology leaders, we are in the best situation to lead the change we want to see and to be the catalyst for reducing costs and obstacles in legacy operations to drive innovation and investment in new business models, processes and experiences.
As I wait for my four children to give me my next great tie or socks or photo frame (that I will truly love next Father’s Day and every Father’s Day after that), I hope to give them a legacy to be proud of, and to inspire them to make a difference.